Potassium deficiency limites reproductive success by altering carbohydrate and protein balances in cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.)

Wei Hu, Dimitra Loka, Toby R. Fitzsimmons, Zhiguo Zhou, Derrick M. Oosterhuis

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Abstract

Reproductive success in higher plants requires a lot of energy and substance provided by carbohydrate and protein metabolism, and potassium (K) plays an important role in carbohydrate and protein metabolism. However, it is unclear whether K deficiency limits reproductive success by disturbing carbohydrate and protein metabolism. The objectives of this study were to explore the effects of K deficiency on carbohydrate and protein metabolism in subtending leaves, phloem and pistils, and their relationship with reproductive success. A cotton cultivar DP0912 was grown in K-deficient (0 mM K+) and K-sufficient (6 mM K+) nutrient solution in growth chambers. Results showed that Pn of the subtending leaves was decreased under K deficiency, but sucrose, starch and free amino acid contents were markedly increased in the K-deficient leaves, because K deficiency limited the translocation of sucrose and amino acid in phloem. As a result, sucrose and free amino acid contents were reduced by 47.3% and 51.8% in the K-deficient pistils than K-sufficient pistils, which led to further decreases in starch and protein accumulation in the K-deficient pistils. Glucose content was also reduced by 53.1% in the K-deficient pistils than K-sufficient pistils, due to the decreased acid and alkaline invertase activities, since sucrose synthase activity was not affected. Lastly, soluble carbohydrate and ATP contents were lower in the K-deficient pistils than K-sufficient pistils, similarly to the changes of pollen tube growth rate and seed set efficiency. It was concluded that the lower carbohydrate and ATP contents in the K-deficient pistils could not meet the energy requirements of pollen tube growth and seed set. Moreover, protein imbalance also limited pollen tube growth. Those changes resulted in lower seed set efficiency to limit reproductive success
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-94
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental and Experimental Biology
Early online date31 Oct 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jan 2018

Keywords

  • cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.)
  • K deficiency
  • carbohydrate balance
  • protein balance
  • reproductive success

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